Center City casino proposals lead the way

The Provence, Bart Blatstein's brainchild, was one of the two Center City casino proposals favored by the city.
The Provence, Bart Blatstein’s brainchild, was one of the two Center City casino proposals favored by the city.

The Nutter administration has a bad poker face.

During a hearing yesterday before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, city officials offered opinions on all six proposals submitted for the open casino license.

And two proposals — The Provence at the old Inquirer building at North Broad and Callowhill streets, and Market8 at 8th and Market streets — presented the most lucrative opportunities, officials said.

The six potential developers include Bart Blatstein’s Provence and Ken Goldenberg’s Market8 in Center City; Steve Wynn’s Wynn Philadelphia in Fishtown; and Joseph Procacci’s Casino Revolution, Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino and Greenwood racing and Cordish Company’s Live! Hotel & Casino all within the South Philly Sports Complex.

Deputy Mayor Alan Greenburger said while both the Market8 and Provence projects could transform the city, “Market8 would have the most immediate impact, while the Provence is a significant part of a longer term revitalization of North Broad Street.”

Those projects, he said, also had an advantage in regards to further mixed-use development within its geographic area.

The Provence, which would provide the most slots and table games, would bring in the most gaming-tax revenue for the city with a low of $9 million and a high of $14 million, according to AKRF consultant group, which the city hired.

Greenberger said the Wynn Philadelphia proposal was a “little harder to get your arms around,” and the close proximity to Sugar House raises concerns.

Keith Rowan, AKRF technical director, said the three South Philly projects are intriguing because of the proximity to the sports stadiums, but questions remain whether traffic from other sporting events would deter potential casino visitors.

The sustainability hearings, in which the developers appear before the PGCB, will take place on Jan. 28, 29 and 30. The board will most likely award the casino license in early 2014.

‘No casino, no matter where’

A group of about 50 protestors were ejected from the gaming board meeting about 20 minutes after it began.

A female protestor ignited anti-casino cries when she interrupted Greenberger as he presented his suggestions to the gaming board.

After she was ejected, for about five minutes, the group chanted in unison: “No casino, No matter where.” The rest of the group was ejected soon after.

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